Christina White Certified Ineligible for Death Penalty
MILLER COUNTY- Miller County Prosecutor's Office announced Tuesday it cannot pursue the death penalty for Christina White. White faces charges of first degree murder, filed in 2007 in connection with the burning death of her infant son. On December 29, 2011 Senior Judge J. Miles Sweeney entered an order certifying White was not eligible for the death penalty, as sought by the Prosecutor's Office.
Judge Sweeney's order contains findings that White meets the definition of mentally retarded as provided by Missouri's death penalty law. Miller County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Howard stated that he believes that Judge Sweeney's order is self-explanatory and notes that the statutory provision limiting availability of the death penalty in such cases was enacted by Missouri's legislature in 2001.
Howard notes that White has remained in custody since her arrest and the case now pending on a change of venue in Laclede County will be scheduled for trial on the first degree murder charge. The only penalty now available upon conviction is a mandatory sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole.